As Our Companions decides which dogs to bring in to our sanctuary, the question always arises of how much and what kind of work will be necessary to get the dog to the point of being adoptable. Sometimes it’s medical work, sometimes it’s behavioral work, and sometimes it’s both. Sometimes we know going in that a dog will need lots of work, and sometimes the dog won’t need much work at all. Bentley was a dog we knew would be challenging, but he was still full of surprises.
Bentley was a young lab mix with an cruciate ligament tear who, needed some training and some TLC. We handle these kinds of things all the time. But as he spent some time hear, we realized that things were worse than we knew. In addition to the cruciate ligament tear, he had luxating patellas in both knees, and some wear on his hips and back as a result of those bad knees. He also had a high level of frustration, as a puppy in too much pain to play, and, once he became comfortable with people, was prone to lots of nipping and mouthiness, and other inappropriate interactions. He was going to be much more work than we originally thought.
But the sanctuary staff and volunteers were up to the task! We put in place strict handling instructions that gave him the consistency and control to learn a better way interact with people. We enrolled him in Canine College classes that worked his mind and gave him the skills and confidence to be the good dog he wanted to be. We set up for a canine massage therapist to work with him on a weekly basis and brought him to canine physical rehabilitation. And when all that didn’t quite do the trick, we made arrangements for a much needed knee surgery to get him moving better. The whole team came together, and Bentley blossomed into a sweet, happy boy.
And, as always, fate smiled on our hard work. His rehab therapist fell in love with the good boy under all the bad behavior, and decided his home should be with her. He is now recovering with the best of care, under the watchful eye of his new mom and two canine “sisters.” Bentley was more work than anyone imagined, but well worth the effort.